LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 Preview

An Invitation to Hogwarts!

I’m minding my own business at GAME HQ when a special envelope lands on my desk. Inside, there’s an invitation in the shape of an owl: “You are cordially invited to take a first look at LEGO Harry Potter Years 1–4”. How could I refuse?!

The venue is perfect. It’s like a mini version of Hogwarts! The Ironmonger’s Hall in Barbican, London, has a grand staircase, aristocratic portraits on the wall and a banqueting hall reminiscent of the one in the Harry Potter films.

“You haven’t been talking to any portraits have you?”

I am greeted by a wizard who introduces herself as Professor Margoyles and invites me to hand over my travelling cloak. Up the staircase the very convincing Professor Snedly uses a sorting hat and sorts me into – uh oh – Slitherin! Still . . . it’s often more fun being the evil one.

I am told to wait with the other ‘students’ in an atmospherically lit room with a beautiful white owl sitting patiently on his perch. The Harry Potter music is punctuated by exclamations from Snedly outside, “Don’t dawdle in the corridor”, he demands of one student and, “You haven’t been talking to any portraits have you?” he sternly enquires of another.

Finally Slitherin House is called to the banqueting hall where we get our first look at LEGO Harry Potter Years 1–4 . . .

Introducing LEGO Harry Potter Years 1–4

I’m expecting something good here. After all it’s LEGO and it’s Harry Potter! How could you go wrong?

Harry Potter Years 1–4 gives you a good mixture of gameplay, including story levels, collecting, building and puzzle solving.

Unlike other LEGO games, Harry Potter Years 1–4 gives its characters the opportunity to grow, which is a welcome new dimension to this popular format. So how exactly do the characters grow? Wizard school!

Yes, you, too, can go to Hogwarts and learn spells!

Yes, you, too, can go to Hogwarts and learn spells! Interspersed with the play, the wizardry classes will help you grow in power and learn new abilities that help you solve puzzles, and unlock new parts of the game.

The more you learn, the more your character grows, so when you revisit a location there might be more things you can do – or maybe the prefects will let you go where they wouldn’t let you go before . . .

Become All Your Favourite Characters

You’ll find all your favourite Harry Potter characters in LEGO Harry Potter Years 1–4 as well as a host of minor characters. You can switch freely between available characters at any time depending on the challenges you face. You can also choose to play good or bad – and learn good spells or bad!

Even though they are built of bricks, the personality of characters like Ron really comes through.

Each playable character can have up to 8 abilities by the end of the game and you can customise them with purchases from Diagon Alley.

One of the nicest touches in the game is the humour, and even though they are built of bricks, the personality of characters like Ron really comes through. Even the paintings will talk to you – in their own special way – but will they help you out or get in the way?!

Experience Harry Potter’s World

As well as having characters that grow, Harry Potter Years 1–4 pushes the LEGO format further with the Hogwarts environment, which promises to be the largest and most detailed LEGO game environment yet.

You’ll step into iconic locations from the Harry Potter books and films, and be able to take part in the story from the start: Find platform 9 ¾ . . . discover Diagon Alley with Hagred . . . buy your first wand . . . cast your first spell . . . and learn how to ride your broom!

You can step into this world alone or choose multiplayer mode and play in split-screen view. The split-screen view lets you explore in your own time and in your own way.

The Element of Surprise!

Wherever you go in LEGO Harry Potter Years 1–4, there is always an element of surprise!

As we watch the developer demonstrate the game, he actively encourages us to ‘trash the place’ and ‘fool around’! By interacting with items in each scene you may find special rewards or a LEGO stud or two, and once you’ve trashed some sections, rebuilding them might help you solve your next challenge.

The largest and most detailed LEGO game environment yet.

Spells can also act in a way you don’t expect! Spells can act differently depending upon which character you are and who (or what) you’re casting them on. You can also create you own spell potions . . . if you make one right, you could have a powerful tool! If you make it wrong – BOOM!

There are lots more surprises in store and I won’t spoil them here, but what version will you choose?

The Wii version lets you use the controller as a wand and immerses you in the Harry Potter world. The DS version is more of an adventure, complete with cut-scenes and the opportunity to talk to the characters. Both send you into a wonderfully colourful, magical world with all the things LEGO game fans love.

Preview by: Amanda 'Hermione' Hepburn
Preview Published: 11.05.10

SKU: Article 13619
Release Date: 11/05/2010